David Jones is ready to swing back into action this week as the Premier League returns.
Jones – who traditionally presents Monday Night Football alongside Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher – is raring to go after the unceremonious lockdown break.
He spoke exclusively to RadioTimes.com ahead of the restart and picked out three Premier League fixtures that have caught his eye in the first round of matches.
Check out David Jones’ matches you need to watch on Sky Sports this week.
Aston Villa v Sheffield United
Date: Wednesday 17th June
DJ: I look at Aston Villa against Sheffield United, the very first game of our return. I think that is a huge match. An absolutely huge match.
Aston Villa went into lockdown in desperate form, having lost their last four matches. They desperately need a springboard to get themselves out of trouble, and a win here, on their return, would send shockwaves through the rest of the bottom six, I think.
The return of John McGinn is huge. We heard Jack Grealish talking about him on the Football Show, saying he thought he was one of the best players in the Premier League before he was injured, never mind at Aston Villa. That’s going to be absolutely fascinating from Villa’s perspective.
And then Sheffield United – can they continue their incredible form? So much of what they’ve achieved so far has been based on an ability to be really strong away from home. This is an active test for them, on the first game back, to see if they’re the same extraordinary team that they were before football was paused.
That is a huge game.
Tottenham v Manchester United
Date: Friday 19th June
DJ: The game on the Friday night sees Jose Mourinho taking on Manchester United, obviously. There is a fascination and a curiosity about that. Again, Spurs have got players returning from injury, when, before lockdown, they were really struggling for numbers at one point.
They’ve got Harry Kane back, fit and firing. Son as well. That’ll be really interesting, to see how they go against a Manchester United side who probably didn’t want the pause to happen. They were one of the in-form teams going into March and looked in really good shape.
Now that they have Paul Pogba coming back into the mix with Bruno Fernandes – I think it’s captivating to see how they fare together. And maybe [Pogba] will have a new role – just reading around some of the interviews, maybe he does become a number 10, which does suit him better. That will be really interesting.
Everton v Liverpool
Date: Sunday 21st June
DJ: The Merseyside derby is on the Sunday evening. I think it’s brilliant that it’s going to be on Merseyside. I think it would have been a real shame had it have to have been moved.
It might be a title party for Liverpool – a socially-distanced title party for Liverpool – at Goodison Park. Everton fans have been dreading this game for a long, long time, purely on the basis that it could be a game that gives the title to Liverpool, and they’d have for that to happen at Goodison.
It’s going to be free-to-air as well on the Sky channel (Pick TV) so I think that’s got added importance for us because of that. And obviously, Everton will be praying that Manchester City don’t lose against Arsenal, and will take a little bit of pressure off them.
They looked a team in good shape under Carlo Ancelotti going into the break. They’ve had a couple of injuries in the build-up to Project Restart, but I’m sure they’ll be doing everything they can to try to stop Liverpool.